Wal*Mart's "I can't believe it's not Butter" clone is called "I totally thought it was Butter"

For some reason it just seems funnier to me than all the other imitators of this peculiar marketing gimmick's moist, polyunsaturated semiotic corner. Two others deserve some kind of no-prize, however.

First, a Magritte-inspired brand from Asia (above), as spotted by Funny Typos.

Secondly, a supermarket generic from Britain's ASDA chain (right), whose twist on the naming gimmick is abandoned due to the discovery of a truly obscene pun.

UPDATE: Hey, just found this in the fridge:

Update 2: A great comment from reader Chuck:

I thought I knew what butter was.

It's a subject of minor importance, I know. Nothing that should inspire horror. Or so I had thought at one time.

I was once like the countless throngs of people in the world, all confident in what they believe to be their knowledge of what they spread on their bread or use an ingredient in their meals. But now, I find myself alone.

Was my decision wise? I frequently find myself second-guessing, ever since my unintended self-exile from humanity. "Should I return to the old ways?" I often ask myself in the lonely silence of my home. Should I return to the purchasing and dietary decisions I made before I stumbled upon the horrible knowledge, and rejoin society?

I can't. No matter how much I want to be among others again -- to talk, to touch -- I quickly remember what's inside them now, what's in the air they exhale.

What would consume me faster? The isolation and madness? Or that "food" I've fled from? Will I acquire the lifespan of the gods while I watch everyone around me whither and die? Will I become the type of mad and unknowable creature that set this substance down among mankind?

Only time will tell. I'm committed to a new course now, and not entirely on my own volition. Incomprehensible fear set me on this course after I did what no one else, to my knowledge, has ever done when I looked at the ingredients on that plastic tub of what humanity believes to be butter, and found something ... unbelievable.

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  1. Great Value brand adult diapers are called “Certainty” as opposed to “Depends”

    1. It’s owned by Walmart, it doesn’t sell the same stuff.

      It sells criminally bad food under the guise of ‘chosen by you’, and then boasts that it’s the cheapest supermarket.

      Supermarket wars in the UK are pretty much a race to the bottom.

  2. The British comedian Jeremy Hardy’s version of this was an item labeled “Bugger Me, This Is Marge!”.

  3. “Yer tellin’ me this ain’t butter?   Are you tryin’ to trick me again, Darlene?  I’ve had this on three biscuits so far, and I’m tellin’ you, this is definitely butter.  I know what butter is.  So are you lookin’ me in the eye and tryin’ to tell me this ain’t butter?  Hold on a sec, I’m gettin’ MaryLee.  Hey!  MaryLee!  Git in here!  I need you to taste somethin’ for me.  …  What?  What you mean our show’s on?  …  No-no, I checked the TV schedule — that’s a rerun.  We saw that a couple months ago.  Barb was over.  That was when she had to keep her foot elevated on the coffee table — you remember that.  But git yer butt off the couch, and come in here and taste this.  Darlene is tryin’ to tell me this ain’t butter.  You know how she is.”

  4. Price Chopper is going to release their new fake butter, called, “We totally bet you’ll think this is butter, but guess what? It’s not!!!  hahaha!!!”

  5. ” I totally could tell this isn’t butter” sadly never got the recognition it deserves…

  6. Correction: it’s called I totally thought it was “butter” (i.e., not actually butter), a.k.a. “I totally thought it was margarine, and I was correct”.

  7. “You’re totally thinking this is butter right now, and we’re going to let you think that for a while, and when you’re done, and totally convinced that the stuff in this tub is butter, that’s when we’re going to let you know what this stuff is.  We know, we know, you were totally thinking this stuff is butter, and we taste-engineered it to be a heck of a lot like butter, but guess what?  You won’t believe this.  Are you ready?  Get this….

    It IS butter!

    Hahahah fool!”

  8. I like Demetri Martin’s take: “I like to mix ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ with butter, and call it ‘I Can Believe That Some of It is Butter’…”

  9. I thought I knew what butter was.

    It’s a subject of minor importance, I know.  Nothing that should inspire horror.  Or so I had thought at one time.

    I was once like the countless throngs of people in the world, all confident in what they believe to be their knowledge of what they spread on their bread or use an ingredient in their meals.  But now, I find myself alone. 

    Was my decision wise?  I frequently find myself second-guessing, ever since my unintended self-exile from humanity.  “Should I return to the old ways?” I often ask myself in the lonely silence of my home.  Should I return to the purchasing and dietary decisions I made before I stumbled upon the horrible knowledge, and rejoin society?

    I can’t.  No matter how much I want to be among others again — to talk, to touch — I quickly remember what’s inside them now, what’s in the air they exhale.

    What would consume me faster?  The isolation and madness?  Or that “food” I’ve fled from?  Will I acquire the lifespan of the gods while I watch everyone around me whither and die?  Will I become the type of mad and unknowable creature that set this substance down among mankind?

    Only time will tell.  I’m committed to a new course now, and not entirely on my own volition.  Incomprehensible fear set me on this course after I did what no one else, to my knowledge, has ever done when I looked at the ingredients on that plastic tub of what humanity believes to be butter, and found something … unbelievable.

  10. (Stolen from some comedian, possibly the Izzard)  Product being renamed to “After fifteen years, I’m coming round to the notion that, in fact, it’s not actually butter”

  11. The Princess Bride branded version: Someone switched my butter for this Sicilian olive oil butter substitute while my back was turned? Inconceivable!

  12. I like how it’s not “I totally thought it was butter”, it’s actually: 

    I totally thought it was “butter”

    They could have just left it at:

    “butter”

    Since the “I totally thought it was” is superfluous otherwise, it must thus be implying some sort of margeception if we assume that “butter” with quotation marks is referring to the name brand item:

    I totally thought it was “I can’t believe it’s not butter”

    Which, of course, is often the goal of store-brand products, to be as good as the name brand item (they’ll often say “compare to name brand equivalent).

  13. Whoa.  Dang.  Recognition for my bad imitation of Lovecraft (with a smidge of H. G. Wells)?  Thanks.:-)

    Now can we fit that story on a container of this unbutter substance?

    Maybe a reused Dr. Bronner’s bottle would be appropriate.

  14. It’s worth noting that “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” (no idea about the products on display here, but I’m guessing it’s similar) is a blend of margarine and butter fat, so it’s partially butter, and then butter flavouring is added. This is why you allegedly cannot believe it’s not butter.

    I one day hope to label and market my own margarine-based butter substitute: “Fuck me, what is this and where’s my Butter?”

  15. I can’t remember whether I originally saw this on boingboing or not, but it’ll be new to some of you. The “Magritte-inspired” brand reminded me of this.

    1. Oh, I’m afraid it will taste convincingly like butter when your friends arrive.

  16. Not to be confused with Sirius Cybernetics’ “Almost, But Not Quite, Entirely Unlike Butter”

  17. We get the free stuff the Gov. gives out. It’s labeled:  “If this isn’t butter, what else are they lying to us about?”

  18. My favourite response to  “I can’t believe its not butter” is  “well fuck me! its margarine”

  19. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the butter angels of our nature.

  20. I’ve always hoped that the French version is “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas du beurre”.

  21. When my partner visited from Mexico, he went to the store with me and said “Oh, we need to get butter.”

    He was dismayed when I asked if he wanted butter or margarine.  He didn’t know the difference… so I explained and he was more confused… then, I showed him the names, benecol, I can’t believe it’s not butter, brommel and brown, land o’ lakes, and the other 40 varieties of butter and butter-substitutes from which we regularly make our choice.

    He was so frustrated… so confused.  Finally, he said – butter.  Just give me butter.  Then, we had to address whether or not it should be salted or unsalted, organic or not….

    We have the illusion of too many options… but plastic by any other name tastes just as buttery….

  22. Call it what you like, but it still tastes nothing like butter – on the most part I find these products offensive as they’re directly attacking my intelligence; or at least the intelligence of people that have a problem limiting how much butter they eat on a daily basis and so need to buy large quantities of oil based goop.

  23. Kroger’s store brand is called “Butter, It’s Not!” In my head, I read it in an Arnold Schwartzenegger voice. 

    1. Arnold expressed his disbelieve with more than a little frustrated groaning and screaming…

  24. Tastes so good you inexplicably and joyfully won’t mind the deception: “I Can’t Believe I’m Not Bitter!”

  25. So certain are you.  Always with you it cannot be believed butter it is not.  Hear you nothing that I say? No! No butter! Only butter in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.  Butter, or butter not!  There is no “believe.”

  26. And in the lingerie section:
    “You’re trying to tell me this is a motherfucking girdle?  Seriously, are you fucking with me right now?”

  27. Would the half asleep supermarket shelf stacker unknowingly place this tub at the section meant for body butter?

  28. I’m living here in the land of (palm oil) margarine. Nobody tries to pass off margarine as butter, for the simple fact that margarine is more widely used than butter. The situation is reversed from that described by the other people above, where margarine is more popular than butter.

    Grab 10 people off the street and ask them to choose between butter and margarine. 1 will choose butter, and 4 will choose margarine. The other 5 will choose peanut butter or jam, despite the question not including these choices.

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